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Protective functions of coastal forests and trees against natural hazards

Eric Wolanski
On the basis of field data as well as fluid and soil mechanics and structural engineering, it is argued that mangroves and coastal forests need to be restored and even created to enhance the protection of coastal areas from salt spray, wind damage, and erosion from wind-driven waves and typhoon waves. These forests also save human lives during a tsunami below a threshold level that depends on the tsunami wave height and the characteristics of the forest. Mangroves also provide important
more » ... e important ecohydrological services such as providing self-scoured navigable channels, sheltering coastal seagrass beds and coral reefs from excess sedimentation, and enhancing fisheries; these are all resources that the human population living along tropical estuaries and coasts rely on for their livelihood and quality of life. Mangroves are very susceptible to below-root level erosion from boat wakes and shallow water wind waves near low tide.